The Danish International Development Agency (Danida) has handed over 15 pick-up vehicles and three working dogs to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to enhance preventive operations at some of the frontier stations, for effective patrols and to close all the loopholes in revenue leakage.
The presentation was also aimed at enhancing operations in revenue mobilisation, as well as protecting the entire nation against infiltration of prohibited goods. The three working dogs are also expected to assist the Customs Division in rummaging of vehicles, identifying contraband goods on persons and packages, as well as general patrol duties.
Deputy Danish Ambassador Mr. Peter Olessen, speaking at the official handing-over ceremony in Accra, said the Tax and Development Programme has been designed to help improve the sustainability of Ghana’s public finances and that it is a reflection of the evolving relationship between Ghana and Denmark as Ghana becomes increasingly self-reliant, and the scope for commercial relations increases.
Currently, the redesigned programme – which focuses mainly on Customs – supports some 26 projects under the GRA’s second strategic plan with training and capacity-building as well as some equipment, he said.
Mr. Olessen said although Danida has moved away from development assistance involving the purchase of vehicles and construction of buildings, it has shown flexibility in this instance because capacity-building focusing on just training, study tours and on-the-job support without further capacitating the relevant units cannot take us far enough.
“It is our hope that the capacity we build within the GRA will enable this institution to better protect Ghana’s borders, guard the revenue coffers and strengthen staff capacity to deliver on its mandate,” he said.
He said improving the GRA’s performance is critical to the economic and social development of Ghana, especially in the transition from Aid to Trade to strengthen revenue administration and make up for the possible shortfall in donor inflows when development partners exit from development cooperation.
Mr. Emmanuel Nti, Commissioner-General of the GRA, said the vehicles form part of the package earmarked for the Customs Division under the Tax and Development Programme being spearhead by Danida.
He said the vehicles will further enhance GRA operations in revenue mobilisation, as well as protect the entire nation against the infiltration of prohibited goods.
Mr. Nti said the performance of GRA is critical to economic and social development, and thanked the Danish government for its immense support.
The Commissioner-Customs Division of the GRA, Mr. Isaac Crentsil, said since 2015 the Danish government has supported the GRA in its modernisation efforts by offering technical assistance, donating printers and scanners, among others.
“The 15 pick-ups will go a long way to assist Customs preventive operations, and help it be up to the task of checking smuggling along the country’s vast borders,” he remarked.